Wu Hen is the sophomore album from Peckham jazz visionary Kamaal Williams.
Bringing groove to the forefront, Wu Hen oscillates between celestial jazz, funk, hip hop and r&b reinforced with the rugged beat-heavy attitude of garage, grime, house and jungle – a self-styled fusion Kamaal describes as Wu Funk.
Wu Funk is very much a style of the here and now – a millennial take on jazz fusion – a style that reflects the wide-ranging aesthetic of the London jazz scene through which Williams has come up.
Cinematic strings from Miguel-Atwood Ferguson and virtuoso saxophone from Quinn Mason are textural additions that make for a deeper experience than previous releases. Atwood-Ferguson’s arrangements add yet another era of musical tradition for Williams to draw upon – the opulent charts crafted by the likes of David Axelrod and Gil Evans – and new textures for his group to react to.
When pressed for insight into the album’s overarching themes, Kamaal proclaims: “This is a revolution of the mind. A spiritual rebellion: To reach new heights requires separating ourselves from the material world and finding power in what’s intangible. That’s what music and art is for – whether it’s a primitive emotion or something deep, you feel it. And there’s a subliminal element that resonates throughout my work. If you’re painting, it’s what you’re feeling as you’re painting. And the person looking at that artwork or listening to that music, they can feel it too, because it’s sincere.”
1. Street Dreams (Feat. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson)
2. One More Time
6. Big Rick
7. Save Me (Feat. Mach-Hommy)
9. Hold On (Feat. Lauren Faith)
10. Early Prayer